On the technology front, I finally bought a SSD (solid state drive) for my poker computer a few months ago. Newegg had this holiday sale where they were selling Samsung 250GB drives for under $170 plus a copy of Farcry (or Assassin's Creed) plus free shipping. How am I going to say not to that?!? For a geek like me, that's like Jessica Alba asking me if I want a massage. Never going to say no... even if Mrs. Fly is there. Mrs. who? I'm sure the divorce judge will side with me on that one. I think.
My HEM2 seemed a touch laggy (mostly because the latest version had this weird memory hogging problem so it started off using700MB and after a few hours, the memory usage would swell to 2.5+GB). And HEM2 always seemed a little laggy on the Zoom/Rush/Speed games. Also, I was running so bad that I thought my old hard drive must've been compromised or something. Obviously, I was just being paranoid, but there didn't seem to be any downside to setting up a new poker drive.
I would have to give it a solid thumb's up. So if I have to rank "non-essential" computer hardware accessories (other than what's in the box), I would have to go:
1. Razer Nostromo keypad (aka Belkin n52te) - if you play 6-10 hour sessions, you need to be able to play with either hand. Eat a donut with one hand, limp-fold with the other. Classic fish moves. And one-click folding, "2/3" pot betting, etc is so awesome. I was watching Ansky videos over the holidays and it was so funny listening to all his button clicks. Carpal by the age of 35. Automate as much as you can. Every click adds up.
2. SSD drive - It actually feels like my computer is running much faster (because it is). It literally takes like seconds for my computer to boot up, and even though I have a million hands in my 12 month database, HEM2 runs pretty seamlessly. And prefetch seems to work more reliably so now I don't have to fold my big blind as often on the first hand because I have no reads.
3. 30" monitor - my 30" monitor was on the fritz, so I swapped in another 24" monitor and because I overlap my tables (hybrid of tiling and cascading), it actually feels comfortable because I don't have to move my eyes over such a wide area. Obviously, if you tile you need a 30" monitor. I'm not sure if I'm going to move my 30" monitor back... I don't miss it at all.
Sadly, the whole Newtown school shooting happened like a few weeks after I got the SSD (like 40 mins from where I used to live in CT) so I never opened FarCry, lest I expose the yunggins to more gun violence. Oh well.
It took me forever to reinitialize the new drive and set it up. If you get the SSD as an "upgrade kit," you get all the software to move your old HD over, but I just wanted to start from scratch, so as to make sure I only had the poker essentials on there. And when I get a new computer in the next year or so, I can just move my SSD drive to my next machine and I'll be good to go. The bottom line is, if you play a lot of online poker (especially the Zoom/Rush/Speed games), I would highly recommend getting an SSD.